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” I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite.”
                                                                                                                             – Arti Metroreader

 

After a long hiccup I am back with chat and coffee, my guest blog post, where we talk about the person, her passion, her dreams and her journey. Today we have with us the ace book reviewer, Arti Metroreader. She blog anonymously yet is winner of many hearts who follow her book reviews.

 

  • Please tell us about yourself ?

Hi! I’m Arti and I am based in Delhi. I am a qualified doctor and love reading.

  • How did you go on to become an ace reviewer besides your profession?

A- It occurred to me that there are books which, if I read reviews of, I may not even have bought let alone read. So I thought that as a reader, if I can review the books I read, write the review and post it on my blog, it would benefit those who are interested in the genres I read and could pick the books they want. So I started blogging in February 2013. I have posted reviews of over 1000 books on my blog of various genres such as contemporary fiction, memoirs, romance, chick lit, even mills and boon, Indian authors, short stories, etc.

  • Tell us how books made their way into your life?

I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite. My father was posted at places where there was not much to do in the evenings and the days were small, so my sister and i would go to the library and borrow books. Even when my parents went to watch a movie, they would get us ACKs or other books on return.

During the summer vacations, on our train journeys to Delhi, we would carry books and even buy from A. H.  Wheeler at the railway station.  And at my grandparents home, our cousins would take us to their library. Being the youngest of all cousins on both sides of the family, we inherited books from our older cousins.

So you can say, I actually grew up reading.

  • Tell us about your journey as a book reviewer and blogger?

A-  With studies, my book reading lagged behind and I started reading smaller books and magazines.

Then marriage and kids, so the books took a backseat.

And then one day, my student and now my friend gave me this idea of writing reviews of the books I had read. And thus started my journey as a book reviewer and blogger.

  • You have a very unique name for your blog?

Metroreader because i read mostly on the way to work and back in the Metro.

  • What kind of books you love to read?

I love happy endings.

  • Which books has remained with you forever?

My favourite fairy tale is The Princess and the pea. And Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books.

  • You have read many books so far. Who is your favourite author?

I have read many authors but have now started liking Indie authors. Maybe it is age catching up.

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Draupadi – The tale of an empress by Saiswaroopa Iyer

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Blurb : 

Being born a princess, and raised by a loving father and three doting brothers would make life seem like a bed of roses to any woman. Born out of the sacred fire, Draupadi is no ordinary woman, and her destiny cannot be to walk the beaten pa

th. Witnessing estrangement and betrayal within her own family makes her perceptive and i

ntuitive beyond her years. Complicated marital relationships, a meteoric rise and a fateful loss, humiliation unheard of and a pledge of revenge, all culminating in a bloody war—her ordeal seemed never-ending. Yet she stands up to it all—never succumbing, never breaking. One of the most unforgettable characters of the Mahabharata, Draupadi shows what a woman is capable of. Told with great sensitivity and passion, this book brings alive a character of epic proportions that resonates with every reader across space and time.

 

 

Excerpt :

An awestruck silence overtook them, each drowned in their own memory. Uttara was remembering her association with her enigmatic mother-in-law, and Janamejaya was thinking about Rishi Vaishampayana’s narration of the exploits of his ancestors and their much-celebrated queen. He saw Uttara fiddle with her silvery white plait, still long and lustrous, despite her ripe age of nearly eighty springs.

‘You lost a lot in the great war, Grandmother,’ he murmured, shuddering while he imagined the dance of destruction at Kurukshetra. ‘Was there ever an occasion when you felt your life would have been better had you not married into the Pandava household?’

‘Depends upon how one defines the word “better”, Janamejaya,’ Uttara replied, still staring into space, as if she was viewing the incidents of her past right there.

Janamejaya moved closer, taking his place by her feet. ‘After listening to the most learned rishis of Bharatavarsha for days, I have still not been able to come to terms with my father’s death, Grandmother Uttara. How can I even dare to imagine how it must be for you who lost…’ he could not complete the sentence, partly out of the numbness his empathy generated.  and partly because he did not want to refresh her moments of bereavement. Uttara had lost her father, brothers, and a very young husband with whom she had hardly spent a year of marital life, to the war at Kurukshetra. Her unborn child, Parikshit, Janamejaya’s father, had escaped from an episode of horrific midnight slaughter.

‘Everyone lost someone dear to them in the war, Janamejaya,’ Uttara sighed. ‘My marrying into this household at least gave me the satisfaction of bearing an heir to this empire. In fact, I am proud that the thought of unborn Parikshit gave the much needed hope and strength to Uncle Yudhishtira to take up the reins of this devastated land. I had the good fortune of being a daughter to Mother Draupadi when she lost everyone born of her womb to that midnight slaughter.’

Janamejaya’s eyes filled with a sense of admiration. ‘Old men and women at Hastinapura still blame Empress Draupadi and her anger for their losses in the battle.’ With a pained shrug, he added, ‘The gap of understanding that exists between the wise and the mundane.’

‘As the emperor, it is your dharma to dispel misunderstandings surrounding the history of this land, Janamejaya,’ Uttara’s voice was stern. ‘The whole point of reciting the records of the past is to learn from the exploits of our ancestors, take pride in their valour, strength and courage, while gaining wisdom from the stories of their tribulations. If people judge their ancestors because of false notions about history, it is only a matter of time before the population is uprooted from the values their ancestors fought for, and falls apart.’

Janamejaya nodded. ‘That is the reason why I have impressed upon the rishis and acharyas to impart the timeless record of Bharata to students while they acquire education from their gurus. I have also appealed to the erudite disciples of Bhagavan Veda Vyasa to conduct recitation sessions in public gatherings during the festivities.’

Uttara smiled in satisfaction at his genuine attempts. ‘Janamejaya, lazy intellect puts the blame of the Great War on one person. Those who truly understood what led to the eighteen-day-long slaughter at Kurukshetra would reflect on the events and choices of three of the four generations that led the entire empire to war. Blaming someone like Mother Draupadi is not only foolish but also a disturbing sign of misogyny that would be frowned upon by the learned rishis who recorded history and composed the timeless story. Mother Draupadi, in fact, saved the empire from many disasters with the sheer power of her desire to protect this land.’

Janamejaya listened to her animated discourse and smiled. ‘Grandmother Uttara, I have never seen a woman defend her mother-in-law with the passion that you did just now. Pray, tell me the story again, this time through her eyes.’

Uttara rejoiced at Janamejaya’s undying enthusiasm to listen to the tale of his ancestors repeatedly. Very few were fortunate enough to carry the legacy that he did and even fewer realized and strived to live by it as he did. She was more than delighted to narrate the tale, especially from the perspective of the woman who had captured her respect, awe and love for this life and the lives to come—from the perspective of Draupadi.

 

The book can be bought from: https://www.amazon.in/Draupadi-Saiswaroopa-Iyer/dp/9353333156/

 

 

About Author:

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An Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and an investment professional turned satisfied writer, Saiswaroopa is the best selling author of four novels, all based on legendary female protagonists from Ancient Hindu Literature. Her second novel Avishi, based on a Rig Vedic hymn, has been acquired for screen adaptation by a major studio. Saiswaroopa is passionate about Ancient Indian history, philosophy and literature. She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford School of Hindu Studies. As a trained Classical Singer, she has also been awarded a Gold medal by TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams). In her spare time, she likes to search for her next inspiration in books, pravachanas and historical temples. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.

 

 

 

 

“to keep me occupied she gave me a piece of paper an asked me to write a story.  I wrote one and she loved it a lot. ” – Sai Daksh

 

Today on my blog I have a very young author Sai Daksh, only 13 years old (but a big boy sai-dakshnow). He debuted with The Diamond Heist (A Seven Agent Adventure) in the year 2017. Sai has big dreams and today he is going to share with us his writing journey so far.

  • How does it feel to be called as an author at your age? What do your friends say about your book?

It feels good. My friends say that the book is very interesting and they loved reading it.

  • It is not possible for any of us to inch forward without a support in the family. So who is your pillar of strength in the family?

Although all my family members support me, I feel that I am the Pillar of Strength for myself.

  • How did writing happen to you?

Honestly, I started writing when I was six years old and from then I have been writing

Mom narrates a very interesting anecdote. She says that in my earlier school in Bangalore where I studied only for the first grade, we kids used to be taken to the library for reading books and I believe the librarian once saw me loitering around and asked me why I wasn’t reading. I said that I had read most of the titles that were allowed for my class and just to keep me occupied she gave me a piece of paper an asked me to write a story.  I wrote one and she loved it a lot. She was the one who told my parents that I could write very well. Later I started making small comic strips and giving it to my friends. In my creative writing activity for English language I wold write stories based on prompts and be praised for them. So I then thought I should try and write a bigger story and started writing. I still have two half written stories in my mother’s laptop from even before the Diamond Heist.

·         About your book, The Diamond Heist (A Seven Agent Adventure), tell us about your source of inspiration?

As far as I can recall, I actually never had any source of inspiration for writing The Diamond Heist. The story just came in my dream one night and I decided to pen it down. I also wanted to create a story with my friends as characters in it.

·         Are your writing /planning your next book? What is it all about? How soon is it going to be released?

Yes. I am currently writing my next book but it is not a sequel to The Diamond Heist. It is completely different. It is called “The Death Ray”. It is a Fantasy set in the 31ST Century when the galaxy is run over by a completely different race.  I am 9000 words into it and I have a feeling that I shall complete it in the next 6 months. I want to self publish it on Amazon.

·         Since you are a student, how do you balance your homework and fiction writing?

There is nothing special to balance both. I study and play in the day and at night from 9 or 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm, I do my other extra-curricular activities like writing, gaming and video making.

·         What is your favorite subject in school?

In school, my favorite subjects are Maths and Science but I prefer Science more.

·         Tell us any incident in your school that you have used in your book or planning to?

To be honest, I haven’t used any incidents from real life but only the characters and their personalities are from real life.

·         There are many aspiring writers of your age. What is the message you want to give them?

“Think about your biggest failure or humiliation. It would keep giving you energy to write more and prove to the world that you are the best.”

·         And at last, any message for your readers.

Never Give Up.

Works By Sai Daksh

 

The Diamond Heist

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Genre: Adventure

Available @ Amazon  Flipkart

 

The Sleepover

Genre: A short Story (Horror)

Available @ Juggernaut

“In India, people want to become engineers, doctors, professors, businessmen, film actors and what not but I haven’t seen people talking about becoming scientists as a career. So I decided to do something different and make a scientist my lead character.” – Rajeev Saxena

 

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Rajeev Saxena

Today we have with us Rajeev Saxena author of  Pinto Has An Idea.

Rajeev did his Bachelor of Technology from IIT Kanpur, India in 1994. He currently lives in Dallas, USA. From the days of living on farms in his grandparents’ village, he has been in touch with his roots throughout his life. Charity and voluntary work is also his passion.

The book Pinto Has an Idea is the tale of Dr Pinto, a small-town boy, an IITian and a scientist working in MIT, who suddenly experiences a life-changing revelation in the early days of his research, throwing away his work on theoretical physics and setting out to solve the practical everyday problems of the world he lives in.

Interview with the author

  • Did you always wanted to be a writer?

The short answer is yes. But it took sometime before I got the motivation and inspiration to write this book. The writer in me appeared when I was probably eight and wrote a few short stories. My father was very impressed with it and shared with his friends who also appreciated it. Then I came up with another idea, which was to publish something in a newspaper. Someone told me that it’s much easier to publish your article as ‘Letters to Editor’. The next problem was what to write about. Mostly you’d see letters about political issues and as a kid you don’t understand that well. Back in those days, a TV soap Opera Rajani was very popular and viewers would write a lot about it in the newspapers. I didn’t have TV at home but I prepared my letter to editor about Rajani after reading it on the newspapers only. Really I can’t describe my feeling when I saw my article printed in a newspaper under letters to editor. Later the competition, the social pressure to settle down in your career and then professional engagements never allowed my writing journey to take its full flight. You may also call them excuses. But the bottom line is that I wanted to be a published writer for sure. The journey has started and It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be an eventful and a memorable journey.

  • Tell us something about yourself?

I find this question quite difficult to answer. Everyone (it’s not about me) has so many roles and so many talents but you’d probably want to hear what really matters in this context. I’m a son, a husband, a father and an engineer. In a day I tend to change from one role to the other and I tend to wear them perfectly.

After completing my engineering from IIT, Kanpur I started working in the corporate world and got a chance to visit several places around the world as part of my job. Coming from an educated family, I grew up with books so books are a passion for me. I’m a person who is never satisfied with the present and always think about the future…to do something new. May be this is an abstract introduction about me but that’s how I am and it helps me as a writer.

Frisco

  • What or who is your inspiration behind your debut novel, Pinto has an Idea?

The biggest inspiration is Pinto…a character I never met in real life but I’m pretty sure a person like him exists. There are a few other things as well which motivated me to write the novel. In India, people want to become engineers, doctors, professors, businessmen, film actors and what not but I haven’t seen people talking about becoming scientists as a career. So I decided to do something different and make a scientist my lead character. I also found that there are several novels available in the market about romance in engineering colleges. So the challenge was to write something new as well as entertaining, interesting and humorous. Finally,  with so many problems in the world, how can we address them in an entertaining fashion? That was another motivation for me to write and inculcate innovation, humour and romance altogether.

  • How long did it take you to complete your first draft?

I completed the first draft in 6 months but I completely threw it away as there was no story in it. It was a non-fictional book. I got some very constructive feedback that it’s better to write a book which has a story in it, that completely changed the direction of my writing. It took another year to finish the book…then a fiction romance novel was born. The good part was that I literally destroyed the previous draft so that the flow of the story is very natural. When searching for a good publisher I kept on improving the book which became a blessing in disguise and made me work another one year. So it’s hard work of 2.5 years at the very least.

  • Tell us your journey as an author?

Most people never knew me to be a writer so, they couldn’t believe in the beginning that I was planning on writing a book. Even my family in the beginning thought this is yet another idea which will go away after some time. So I had to do a little hard work to convince people that I’m going to be an author. In fact, people in my friend circle knew me as an amateur singer rather than a writer. Then the biggest challenge was to find a publisher. I’ve mentioned in several other interviews that it was the toughest task so far in the book writing process…especially sitting in US and searching for a publisher in India. In fact, I can write a book about the publishing process.

Finally hard work, a bit of luck and a lot of patience paid off. By God’s grace I got one of the most renowned publishers.

SiliconValley

  • What are your expectations from your book?

Just like any other author, my expectation is that readers like my novel, it entertains them and I get inspiration to write another book soon.

Also another item in my wish list is that the book is circulated to as many as cities, book stores, readers, libraries and to every nook and corner. I know it’s not possible for the first book but with the backing of my great publisher I’m confident that the word will spread soon.

So far I’ve gotten a tremendous support from my readers so am really thankful to them. The book was out of stock on Flipkart after a few days.

  • Which is your favorite character from the book and why?

Obviously it is Dr. Pinto. Pinto gave up his shining career to change the society through his innovations. He is intelligent, passionate and has a very special characteristic in his personality i.e. he can convert his laziness to opportunities. One can understand that point only after reading the book. Also he is not a perfect man. At times he ignores his family and gives more preference to his work without understanding that he is Dr. Pinto just because of his family.  Lavanya’s character is equally important. She is a lady of courage, firm determination and a person who likes to do what she feels right without thinking about consequences. India is not a great country for divorced people especially for ladies. It’s very inspiring to see how Lavanya, a divorcee, faces the world and still achieves things a normal person could not.

  • A message you would like to share with the readers.

Every one of us has a Pinto and a Lavanya in them. I’m just trying to awaken that spirit. You just need to think a little bit out of the box and you can change the world.

Now even if you don’t want to do that, just enjoy Pinto’s and Lavanya’s journey through this book. One of my readers rightly said that ‘Pinto Has An Idea cannot be bound to a genre.’ I’ve tried to make sure that the book is for all, so no matter what age group you are in (as long as you are 16), what background you have, whether you are looking for a casual read or an intellectual interaction this book is for you.

Please shower your love.

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About the book

 

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Title :                  Pinto Has an Idea

Publisher :       Bloomsbury India

The Story :

Young Pinto has from his childhood been an out-of-the box thinker, finding solutions in his everyday surroundings to a myriad ancient global problems. A certain machine he invents in his childhood makes him a hero in his village but it’s not sufficient to change the mindset of naysayers for Pinto to pursue his career in hardcore science.

Pinto Has an Idea is the tale of Dr Pinto, a small-town boy, an IITian and a scientist working in MIT, who suddenly experiences a life-changing revelation in the early days of his research, throwing away his work on theoretical physics and setting out to solve the practical everyday problems of the world he lives in.

Returning to his native India, he finds his noble quest beset by unexpected adversaries, obstacles and trials, but emerges triumphant from each battle.

Pinto does not like to appear a romantic person, and keeps women at bay. But when Lavanya returns to haunt his life, and eventually shoe-horns him into marriage, he obligingly falls in love. Because Lavanya is not just a pretty face, she’s his partner in research. And Pinto, a newbie in romance, discovers a whole new craze.
But life takes directions never aimed for. Pinto is on the road to becoming rich and famous. He invents a mechanism to eradicate corruption in the land, and in that process moves towards politics. That impinges on the couple’s relationship so severely that Lavanya disappears suddenly without telling Pinto. Why does she leave their child with Pinto? Will he lose his greatest ‘idea’, Lavanya, and thereby, himself? Sure, Pinto’s ideas bring dramatic changes to society. But how much romance can a scientist handle as well?

Rajeev Saxena, in his debut novel, shows you just how much.

Buying Links

Amazon

“If you don’t fit in with your peers, you get depressed” – Sudesna Ghosh, author of Just Me, the Sink and The Pot. 
Sudesna Ghosh

Today we have with us of our blog guest post author Sudesna Ghosh (Sue) a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.

Her recent release Just Me, The Sink and The Pot is a children and Young adult literature targeting the theme of body shaming in kids.

Your book talks about teenager issue of getting stressed because of physical appearance. How does it affect the overall self-esteem of the child in the near future?

Body shaming and body image issues effect people of all ages. It is one thing to dislike a thing or two about your appearance, and entirely a different thing to be obsessed with disliking your body and its imperfections. These imperfections of course come from society’s definition of beauty.

When a child grows up knowing and being told repeatedly that she is ‘different’ and that she doesn’t meet the standards of beauty, the child can do either of two things – learn to ignore it and maybe even laugh it off, or believe everyone else and develop low self esteem. The latter happens often and coming out of it isn’t easy unless you have a LOT of support. Support from parents, from teachers, from mental health professionals, is necessary to survive in the battle against negative body image.

Children, especially teens, are in a phase of life where fitting in is important. If you don’t fit in with your peers, you get depressed and dislike yourself for being different. The bad news is that there will be bullies who make other kids feel terrible about the way they look. Yet there is good news too; we as a society are speaking up about mental health issues in India. While depression and anxiety can result due to multiple reasons, I believe that even children/teens are getting professional help these days if needed and of course, if the adults in their lives are perceptive enough.

Growing up with body image issues has taught me one thing better late than never: there are overweight girls and women everywhere but everyone has a different level of self confidence. Confidence takes time to build and is easier to have no matter your weight as you grow older and realise what is really important to you and your life. Children are just starting out, learning about the world and trying to make themselves be liked – low self esteem can develop and should not be ignored.

 

 
JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh
 
Blurb
 
Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who’s looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to – but they aren’t the kind of friends you’d expect. Life sucks when you’re fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?
Read an excerpt of the book here…

 
One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.
 
The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

 

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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childhood incidents kept cropping up and I kept penning them. The only audience I had in mind was my childhood friends.” – Anand Suspi

Today on our blog guest post we have with us Anand Suspi whose recent release Half Pants Full Pants is the talk of the town especially when the readers are transported to their childhood after reading the book.
An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.
Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

 

My blog readers would want to know your motive behind writing this book?

Let me break this up into 3 parts:

Before writing:

This is an accidental piece of work. My advertising work keeps me so busy that I never had any notions of writing a book. As I have mentioned in the preface, I sat down to write a page or two to convince myself that I could write beyond advertising and ended up putting my childhood down.

 While writing: 

A few chapters into the book, I harboured no thoughts of wanting to write a book. Several childhood incidents kept cropping up and I kept penning them. The only audience I had in mind was my childhood friends. 

Post writing: 

Now on hindisght, I can surmise that the idea of the book is to re-live the innocence and simplicity of our growing up years. In the not-so-distant past, life was very real and meaningful. People led simple lives with much joy and contentment. Limited choices and exposure made us savour every little thing. Today, our lives have been twisted beyond recognition and reasoning. Technology has subtracted far more than it has added (at least, that’s how I feel) We are living vacuous lives consuming terabytes of idiotic stimuli, commenting upon anything and everything (where 99% of things have no relevance to our lives) and constantly comparing ourselves to the world around. For most people, the locus of control has become external. It’s a stupid way to live. I know that this book will take every reader back to his or her real days. There’s nothing big or fanciful that happens throughout the book. It’s a collection of small joys, little adventures, naïve dreams, idiotic experiments and modest lives that all of us have lived through. I happened to pen it down but it is really, everyone’s book.

 

 
 
HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS
REAL LIFE TALES FROM SHIMOGA
by
Anand Suspi
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Half Pants Full Pants is a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. All the characters in the book are real and most of them are still in Shimoga, of course now in their mid-40s. Quite a few are from prominent families and are now active and important members of Shimoga. The book vividly captures the real childhood adventures of this generation of people in Shimoga. It’s a glorious reminiscence as well as a tribute to this wonderful town.
 
R. Balki says
 
“After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that someone could create a childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”
 
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More about the author

 

Featured in New Indian Express

 

 

 

 

 

The Hindu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Times of India

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Writing is about peeling the layers of a human soul.” – Rubina Ramesh

If you are an author then you surely know Rubina Ramesh the founder of THE BOOK

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Rubina Ramesh

CLUB (TBC) that has changed the fate of many Indian Indie writers. Living across the globe she make sure to do justice to all books that come across her book club. She is an awesome reviewer, avid reader, mentor, inspiration and now she also hons the feather of an author to her already vibrant cap.

Author of Knitted Tales & Marijuana Dairies today in her interview, Rubina Ramesh talks about her recent release Finding The Angel and her journey as an author.

  • Welcome Rubina!! You have been in the book world for so long. What took you so long to publish your first book?

Hi Paromita, Thank you so much for these lovely questions. I apologize to you on this public platform for not answering your questions earlier in my last blog tour. I have no excuse except that Life happened.

I was a published author before I started TBC. I had already got a few stories published in an anthology written for a children’s hospital in the USA and by Indireads Publisher. It was a good experience and it made me fall in love with writing. As to why my stories came much later than the formation of TBC, well good things take the time to happen. I think I needed the push. It’s a very scary feeling Paromita. The first baby steps we take. Will we be liked? Will our stories be appreciated? All these questions dampen one’s spirit. I needed to find my point of bravery. I am just glad that I did.

  • What are your dreams as an author?

To write. Find my own imaginary hut in the woods and be lost in that for hours. Where voices and duties don’t reach me. Just me and my words – lost for hours. I am yet to find them 😛

  • What all factors you consider while marketing your book?

I am very particular about my covers. You can ask my cover designer, Sachin. He hates me. I keep on changing every other day. It takes a lot of patience from his side to keep up with my changing moods. But I feel beauty reaches one’s soul through one’s eyes. How can I neglect the cover? Then comes the presentation of the book and releasing it at that right moment. I am not a big fan of event creations. So you will not find any event page on my facebook. I am a big believer of blog tours. No, not because I have TBC. But many reviews at one particular time released on the net – the creates a buzz. At least that is what I have witnessed with my books.

  • TBC has given a big platform to many authors. Besides TBC how else you promote your book?

It has always been TBC for me. And I am very proud of each member of our group. They will not spare even me in their reviews. Recently one author told me clearly that she is very scared of a blog tour. Yes, Blog tours can make your book or break your book. It needs a lot of guts to see your friends thrashing your book in public. So unless you are sure of yourself as a writer and you are a constant learner in life, I won’t suggest that. My group does NOT thrash any writer. We openly say when a book needs editing. But we NEVER thrash a writer. I stand by every honest reviewer’s views. What writers have to accept that a negative review is not about demoralizing an author. It’s not even about bringing an author down. When I feel an author is not ready for this blog tour, I do say no to an author. It takes a lot of confidence and guts to go through a blog tour, like the ones we do. We don’t promise sales in our blog tours. We promise an author an audience, their very own readership and fan following – which might translate into their sales. But as of now, we have to believe that no review is negative. They are the thoughts of varied readers which prove that you are an honest writer. How can that be wrong?

  • You don’t write in a specific genre. Please tell us your inspiration for your published and upcoming books?

I have never understood genre Paromita. I think you will relate to that. Your one book is about an immigrants journey and another about a cute girl Mishri. Any incident, any anecdote and any love story that has made a home in my heart, is my genre. You get that, don’t  you?

  • Where do you see yourself as an author after five years?

With at least 30 titles published. At least I hope so. And each genre making my readers accept me as an author.

  • Your message for the readers.

Believe in your emotions and stop finding answers in those who says they will teach you the art of writing. Writing is about emotions. Writing is about peeling the layers of a human soul. Who can teach you that? They can give you the nitty gritty of grammar. They can share their experience, their thoughts but if anyone says they can teach you the art of writing, that is a bull. Your experience, your vision. Your word is your art.

  • Random questions:

  • Your favorite read:                                                                           Gone with the Wind
  • If not an author than what?                                                        Marketer or Publisher
  • What you consider first while choosing a book to buy?               Cover. I am a very shallow that way 😛

Your pillar of strength in writing?                                                               TBC and TBCM

  • Your favorite author?                                         Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon. Sorry, cannot ditch either one of them.

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FINDING THE ANGEL
by
Rubina Ramesh
 
 
 
Blurb
 
All She wanted was love…
 
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
 
All He wanted was to trust…
 
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
 
All They need is to find The Angel…
 
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft. 
 
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?
 
Grab your copy @
 

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More about Rubina Ramesh

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article.She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

You can stalk her @

              

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“The small things people do for us sometimes make a huge impact in our lives and we sometimes don’t even know or realize the impact and that was the main thing I wanted to portray in this story.” – P.G Van

Today on our blog guest post section we have with us author P.G Van who debuted in October 2015 with her first novel, Destiny Decides. She loves to spend time with family and is a strong believer of retail therapy (mostly shops for boots and purses!!). She enjoys giving her readers an escape to the world of love and romance. P.G. Van lives in San Francisco, U.S.A. with her family.
She will be sharing her thoughts on her recently released book, The Evil Twin?

P.G Van

What were your thoughts when you penned the book, The Evil Twin?

My only thought around the time I was getting ready to work on my next book was that I wanted it to be a standalone story. I was getting ready to publish the second part of my Pure Destiny Series and needed to write about characters that were different from the characters in the series.
A few incidents placed years apart pulled this story together and I felt strongly enough about this story to shelf the one I was going to write and started creating Vinnie and Reayan’s characters.
I wanted the story to be about someone who has been through so much in their life that nothing could shatter their strength and resolve, only to find out something about themselves that they never imagined in their wildest dreams.
Every person in our lives is responsible for molding a certain aspect of a person and I wanted to write about how a person like Vinnie, who was so focused on meeting her goals falls in love with Reyan, bonds with Annie like she were her soul sister and how she was willing to help an acquaintance to keep their parents happy. The small things people do for us sometimes make a huge impact in our lives and we sometimes don’t even know or realize the impact and that was the main thing I wanted to portray in this story.
This is a story of love, not just the love between lovers but the love born out of true friendship, the love for a cousin who thinks the world of you and how you can always make room for more love in your heart even if comes concealed in the form of hatred and betrayal.
You can stalk author P.G Van @

       

 

THE EVIL TWIN?

by

P.G. Van

 

 

Blurb

 

Vinnie lost her parents when she was ten and lives in San Francisco with her aunt and her teenage cousin. She never expected a simple act of kindness would be life altering. Reyan comes into her life threatening to shake up her focus and challenges her resolve. He is everything Vinnie wants in a man and he shows up just when she thought she had everything she needed to stay focused on her life and her goals. 

 

Will he crack her titanium tough exterior and get to her heart? Will she let him into her life especially with what she has been through since she was ten? Will she trust Reyan to help her recover from her emotional wounds? 

 

Will she get to the bottom of why people think they have seen her at places that she has never been to before. Does she have a doppleganger or a twin? 

Follow Vinnie’s and Reyan’s love story as she learns the true meaning of love, trust and family.

 

Grab the book @


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“Writing for me is catharsis, an escape into a world of my creation, where my characters do as I tell them, where calamities happen, but I give them tools to deal with them.”- Sunanda J Chatterjee

Today on the Blog Guest Post we have with us the multitalented persona, Sunanda J Chatterjee, the author of Fighting for Tara. A Doctor by profession and a writer by passion, she has two more books in her kitty, The Vision and Shadowed Promise.

Today she would talk about her inspiration and love for writing.

Question: From being a Pathologist professional what inspired you to become an author? Your latest release, Fighting for Tara, has gathered accolades internationally. We would love to hear the story behind this book.

Sunanda J Chatterjee

 

 

 

I grew up in a Bhilai, a central Indian Steel City, where almost all our neighbours worked in the steel plant, and most were engineers or doctors. As such, the pressure to become an engineer or a doctor was immense, even more so than the rest of the country. My father is an engineer and my mother a science teacher. My three siblings became engineers and I became a doctor. I think, if I had grown up anywhere else, I might have gone into fine art or creative writing, my true love. But as a doctor, I joined the Indian Air Force, then came to the US to pursue a PhD in cancer research. Academics and family became the most important drivers of what I did. I completed my residency training, and became a pathologist.

As a pathologist, I make life-changing diagnoses on a daily basis. Many patients get a clean bill of health, but some get chemotherapy or other harsh medications based on what I find in their biopsy. I carry the burden of the words “carcinoma” or “melanoma” or other such deadly diagnoses with me. It is a draining, harsh environment.

When I took this job, on my day off, I found myself alone at home, and after all errands were done, I had a few free hours. For the first time since I was a child, I actually had time to indulge in creative activities. Writing for me is catharsis, an escape into a world of my creation, where my characters do as I tell them, where calamities happen, but I give them tools to deal with them. I took up writing as a hobby, but as a die-hard academic, I took writing courses and read umpteen books on fiction writing. As I learnt more techniques, I kept changing my first book several times, and by the time I published it, ten years had gone by.

The second and third books became easier to write.

Fighting for Tara was conceived while I was waiting in the dentist’s office reading an issue of National Geographic, when an article caught my attention. It was about child brides in Afghanistan, photographed with their often elderly husbands, all smiling into the camera. The idea took root. Child marriage is deplorable, but some of the brides had no idea that it was appalling. They looked happy.

So I created my lead character, Hansa, who is married off at a young age in Rajasthan, and is soon widowed. She has indomitable spirit, even when she is to be wedded to her brother-in-law after her husband’s death. She takes action only when she is asked to drown her baby girl.

As thirteen year old Hansa grew up, I put myself in her shoes and worked within her constraints to create obstacles and opportunities for her. I think I grew up with her. I researched child marriage and female infanticide extensively. I researched sexual assaults on women, and the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I researched a lot of legal aspects, which I won’t disclose for fear of spoilers.

Mental and physical violence against women is a global phenomenon. But there are courageous women who overcome harsh realities in their lives, and go out of their way to help others. That idea created Rani Sahiba and other supporting women in the book.

After I wrote the book, I needed to make sure that I had the facts correct. So I had my book reviewed by a couple of ex-Jehovah Witnesses and a couple of lawyers for the court scenes, to make sure the situations were authentic.

My wish is to create awareness about child marriage and female infanticide. During my research, I discovered a wonderful organization Girls Not Brides, whom I support for their work in preventing child marriages globally.

More about the author

Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.
Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.
She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.
Stalk her @
                  

FIGHTING FOR TARA
 
 
 
Blurb
How far will a mother go to save her child?
“I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.
Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.
Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’
Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth? 
A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.
Read an excerpt of #FFT here:

 

The soft light of the lantern flickered, casting a dim golden glow in the tiny hut, as shadows danced on its windowless mud walls. Thirteen-year-old Hansa squatted on the floor beside a metal bucket and stared at the glimmering water, dreading the task before her. Her baby whimpered on the floor, struggling in the hand-sewn cloth blanket. Beside the door stood the terracotta urn that held the ashes of her husband.
Hansa heard the grating snores of her drunken brother-in-law Baldev, soon to be her husband, as he slept outside on the wood-framed coir cot in the moonless night. She shuddered.
Just an hour ago, Baldev had yelled at her. “I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
She’d begged him. “I can’t do it!”
That’s when he’d slapped her. No one had ever hit her before… not even her elderly husband.
Hansa touched her cheek, which still stung from the humiliation and fear.
She doubted her courage to extinguish the baby’s life. Squeezing her eyes shut, she took a deep breath, hoping that dawn would bring her luck.
Tomorrow morning Hansa would travel with Baldev and all the goats they could load into his bullock-cart, and leave the village forever. She would go to a distant land, become Baldev’s second wife, learn the household chores from his first wife, and bear him male heirs… Hansa shivered, apprehensive about her future.
But before her new life could begin, she and Baldev would take a detour to the river to disperse her husband’s ashes and discard her beautiful daughter’s body.
Somewhere deep in her heart, Hansa knew none of this was fair. It wasn’t fair that in a country with a rich heritage of brave queens, young girls were still forced into marriage, sometimes to men older than their grandfathers. It wasn’t fair that she’d been born to poor parents in rural Rajasthan, a state rife with archaic traditions. It wasn’t fair that she had matured early and was given to sixty-year old Gyanchand Rathore from the neighboring village of Dharni, whose first wife and child had died in a fire.
She turned her face away from the bucket, her heart refusing to carry out Baldev’s orders just yet. A shiver ran through her body as she tried not to imagine life without her baby. Think of something else! Think about Gyani!
Gyani’s absence filled Hansa with a dark desolation, a sense of doom, as if his death itself was a living, breathing, overbearing entity.
She thought of his kind eyes, his missing teeth and graying beard, the massive orange turban which she’d tied for him every morning, and the long kurta he wore, which never looked clean no matter how many times she washed it…
But Gyani was gone. Two nights ago, his heart had stopped beating in his sleep, while she slept under the same blanket, her baby right beside her. When she awoke at dawn to the rooster’s call, she had found his cold still body. She shuddered to think she had slept with a corpse, oblivious, in the comfort of her own youthful warmth. Her first encounter with death. And if she did as Baldev asked, there would be another. Tonight.
Gyani’s death had stunned her, and grief hadn’t sunk in. She had not wept for his departed soul, and her neighbor warned her that if she didn’t mourn his passing, she would never move on. But did Hansa really want to move on into a future that included Baldev but excluded her baby?
According to the custom of karewa, Hansa knew that a young widow would be married off to her brother-in-law, so that the money remained in the family. Her neighbor had told her it was her kismet, her fate.
Hansa was brought up not to challenge the norms of society, but to follow them. If the combined wisdom of her ancestors had determined that she should move to Baldev’s village and begin a new life, who was she to argue? She had no family left, no other place to go.
Baldev choked on his spit and coughed outside, jarring the stillness of the night, reminding her of the task ahead.
But while it was her duty to follow Baldev’s orders, she would trade the impending task for eternal damnation.
Her neighbor had said that killing a baby was an unforgivable sin, even though she’d herself drowned two of her daughters the day they were born. Women are the form of Goddess, she’d said, crying at the fate of her own rotten soul.
But it was a matter of survival. Produce a male heir or be turned out on the streets to beg. A female child was a burden. Even Hansa knew that; her father had reminded her of that every day of her life.
That prejudice was her reality.
Hansa was terrified for her own soul, but Baldev said, “A mother can’t be a sinner if she takes a life she brought into this world.” And then he had gone and got drunk on tharra.
Gyani had been unlike most men in the village. He had allowed her to keep the baby, to give her a name. The baby’s eyes glittered like stars on a moonless night.
She called her Tara. Star.
Hansa looked at her baby with pride and with remorse, as every fiber of her being protested, and her stomach turned and her throat tightened.
Outside, Baldev stirred.
Time was running out.
Tara whimpered again, and Hansa turned to look at her chubby fists cycling in the still air, throwing outsized shadows on the walls. Hansa’s hands shook and her mouth turned dry. She bit her lip, forcing herself to focus on the imminent task.
The water in the bucket shimmered black and gold, reflecting the dancing flame of the lantern, mesmerizing, inviting. Water, the giver of life…

 

She made up her mind. It was now or never.

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